Writing Backwards
Understanding develop should develop over time as new information becomes available, but for this study, each new learning dictated not only new direction, but rewrote what I had already learned.  As I wrote this paper, it rewrote itself.  Which each new learning, all the previous learnings had to be updated.  At the beginning, I only knew that I would look at the nature of science; I had no idea that I would be drawing in the empathic connection of nature as the ultimate empaths, the Native shamans who now are therapists, map humanity's future back to our roots in nature.  For the first time, many cultural and psychological links between society and the natural world I believed existed but could not see, now have basis in science.    "It must be this way because" has evolved to "this is why it is so."

I used italics for all the quotes because most of my sources were admirable, and their writing accurate and expressive.  Some writing came from the top scientists in the field of animal empathy, some came from blogs written by someone sharing their first name only, and some quotes were nearly anonymous.  Even the quotes I was compelled to use for the sake of argument by scientists I disrespect, even loath, for their cynicism and even cruelty are significant.

Because of the newness of the now scientific field of empathy, the support of contributing scholars is essential to develop the ideas.  None the less, the proof of empathy now revealed by modern technology is nothing new to people who have understood nature all along, including Aristotle, Charles Darwin, and myself.

The passages I contributed about empathy and nature may be the best in the paper, a scientist is circulating that section among her friends.  Here in the woods where I write this, the guns have stopped firing, and the wildlife is reprieved.  Maybe my writing had some effect; I doubt it but I hope it will.

Two areas of research were revolutionary to me: learning about the empathic neurons, and learning about the preservation of empathic spirituality here in the United States.  The ideas that I presented about empathy within nature are not new to me, but seem to be new to society.  What is continual news for everyone is the increasing damage to the environment as a result of the exploding global exploitation.  Fortunately, all these studies, and others yet to come, fit together to form a learning that the world's people need to begin to absorb to assure the survival of the world.

I try in my writing to show that empathy is not all kindness and niceness; a big part of empathy is self-preservation, and that, in a dangerous world, can get ugly.  That is also the part of empathy that relates to society, and there is no need for concern for the common person; empathy, as long as it is genuine, is all good even if it is imperfect.

My discovery of the great medicine society, the Native Medewiwin culture that grew out of the genocide, or psychecide, of the European colonization of the New World.  The spirit, perseverance and pervasiveness of the Midewiwin medicine culture is very encouraging to me especially as an American.  It tells me that there is a good "force" out there, something we can rely on and believe in even if it doesn't affect us directly.  It also helps confirm the more subtle influences of Native society on American culture. 

Knowing how the Midewiwin lived nearly invisibly to modern society as an empathic organization shows how the Native influence was psychological rather than overt.  Native influence can be felt in our culture as a driving force, as strength.  Most cultures rely on a recognizable traits to sustain their popularity; American culture is embracing, and it is the same strength within each genre of American culture that makes it so attractive.  This strength comes from our Native culture.  Also from the Native culture comes a strong form empathy; the attachment and attunement to the natural environment which has helped us both socially, and therefore technologically, innovative beyond any other nation.  Until very recently, America was the big nation on the planet, but an amazing series of missteps has sent the nation, and the planet with it, into a sudden spiral.

All these recent damning influences are foreign: non-native just as many other horrible influences are non-native.  Slavery was imported to North America, for example.  But the victims of slavery, the slaves, were themselves tribal Natives, and despite the same types of hardship inflicted on them by the trespassing Europeans, developed an attunement that often went hand in hand with the natural environment here.  Connections between slaves and Natives existed, and are evident in subtle ways, but have to be looked for.

What was once subtle and even invisible is now becoming overt in a revolutionary burst of science both social and purely experimental.  There is in the proof of empathy the beginning of scientific empathy.  Better knowledge will not so much to lead our lives, but help us dictate to the structural operators of our society how things will be done in the future.  We will be free to recreate the historical attachments to the things we know work well.  In nature will can reattach our psychology, in technology we can go back to saner times with new ideas.  This is conservative in that it will reconstruct society on the old ways, yet radical in that it departs from the megamachine we exist to support.

Often I felt a sense of nervousness when trying to explore those ideas, especially in certain environments; attempts at discussion produced arguments which I now understand are knee-jerk responses developed specifically to protect false but widely held ideas.  There are connotations of guilt often associated with attempts to apply critical inquiry to widely held ideas especially if they may be criticized as taboo or myths.  Another emotional response, ridicule, has frustrated more that any other in attempting to from better, higher level, understandings of human society.

The reason for this is simple; in the end punishment --abuse-- protects a structure which very deliberately protects false conceptions used to protect centralized structures whose physical existence depends on continual strengthening through the depletion of resources all around itself, and all around the world.

In the documentation created to help restore Native culture so that Natives in the US and Canada can psychologically survive the long-term and continuing effects of the extermination of their peoples clearly puts the blame where it belongs-- on the capital structures which spread to the New World driven by their need to keep strengthening themselves, and the moral operators of the religious aspect of these capital structures who not only justified the destruction of native culture and conceptual understandings, but facilitated it by attacking the native community of knowledge in the very minds of the natives.

The contemporary Information Society, the Internet, helps in many ways; the obviously newly granted access to vast information cannot be credited enough for helping me, and so many others, explain truths we have accepted, yet we have only been able to tenuously take for granted.  Two other benefits come from the Internet.  One is the protection from retaliatory abuse  that we experience when we question widely held but possibly false beliefs --this is important when questioning high road justification for low actions within the controlling structures of society.  The other is more subtle, but helps expand knowledge into a new dimension; this new ability comes to us through the process of linking information.  Vast amounts of small bits of information come to us through the Internet from completely unconnected sources.  Most of the suppliers of this information provide it with genuineness, but cannot provide the usual proof required for scholarly study.  But when vast amounts of information bits come to us in the form of observations, perceptions, and generalized conceptions, these information bits can fit together like a jigsaw puzzle to form a large complex picture.  We can approach this larger conception as a knowledge that supersedes a perception with the confidence that we are not being mislead.  The vastness and diversity of the sources providing the information guarantees that there is no specific agenda being supported, and that there are no other motives at work, such as financial incentives.

In my study about the Katrina disaster, I experienced this phenomena of knowledge developing from aggregated information and was surprised to find that most of the people supplying the information were generally unaware that the information they supplied was supported and extended by closely related information from others.  The information bits continually extended through this linking process to form the entire picture, which was time and again proved to be as accurate as can be expected from any source, possibly even more accurate.  As an example, one person supplied timely information heard through a social grape vine type network that dogs where being hunted by New Orleans police, other people read this and confirmed it and immediately supplied aggregated information developed from all these sources to responsible lawmakers who immediately put an end to the criminal activity.

My learning about the social network created by the Medewiwin medicine society was a fantastic contribution to my conceptions about humanity.  The majority of the information comes from a single research paper supplied by a group committed to the healing of the trauma which has been inherited by Native society today as a result, and present-day continuation of, the decimation of the Native culture as well as the environment.  Written by scholars, the data was well supported with citations; every piece of the constructed knowledge of the document, however, raised more questions and stimulated curiosity.  Searches on the name of the  society, as well as Native spiritual concepts, brought me to a variety of sources who on an individual basis may be discredited because of a lack of citations.  In particular, one source does himself no favors by using the completely anonymous name of "The Wanderling."  Yet the anecdotal information he and other uncited sources provides, when pulled together provides a picture of the strength an influence of this society, even though it has until now been a completely secret society.  If half of the less plausible anecdotal information is stripped away, the picture created of vastness and inter-relativity goes so far beyond any cited documentation.

Part of the new bravery in our human society is due to the protective nature of the Internet, I believe.  I am also accepting that the perceptions formed by the aggregation of all this linked information is constructing social knowledge is highly accurate, even more so than documented perceptions that rely on accepted filters such as professional reputations and peer-review.

In the end, scientific proof still follows the classical scientific model.  If information collected from diverse sources, technically hypothetical, can be developed into a model used to predict behavior, then the hypothesis is well on its way to becoming a scientifically accepted theory, and even possibly natural law.

Having succeeded in developing highly accurate understandings, ones which include obvious solutions free from bias and focused on guilt, one great challenge remains: communicating the knowledge in a way that can benefit human society.

As with most projects, project plans are created.  But if a project is truly exploratory, if the learning is situated in the sea of discovery, new concepts are going to help reform the planning of future research, and also the communicating of the developed knowledge.  This in a way measures the effectiveness of study --divergence from the initial plan.  If research is designed to prove or disprove accepted fact, then divergence from the initial plan is going to displease those how are providing the resources for the study; there will likely be a negative reaction from managers and planners.  But my feeling is that research that diverges from accepted norms will likewise displease those in control of research resources, casting doubt onto the results of much highly planned research.

Research should be situated, it should be approached from the perspective of the unknown, and the communication of the resulting learning to the public has to be sophisticated enough to take into account vastly different sources of information, and especially the new idea of aggregating highly diverse but conceptually linked information gleaned from sources all throughout the information society.

The best information communication technique will have to sophisticated in simplifying vast ideas so that readers do not become overwhelmed; and also in ways that readers can confirm for themselves the accuracy of the reflected understandings.  Very useful is in allowing readers the ability to extend the knowledge, either to confirm the knowledge with their own learning(s), or through critical inquiry help solidify the conceptual foundation of the knowledge.

The use of language is also obviously important.  Creating a comfort zone for every potential reader means that writing style needs to be modified constantly with sensitivity to different cultural values, as well as values that run across cultures, and even sometimes divide them, such as the universal struggle for even sharing of resources.  When a document confronts accepted norms as this one does, there has to be a compromise.  Using the selfishness and self-survival promoted by Buddhism as a standard, then the information behind the thesis comes ahead of cultural sensitivities; the writers are bound to do what they believe to be correct, and also they are bound to themselves to survive whatever repercussions may result from their research.  

Many great writers have been overcome by their research especially when it brings horrific guilt to powerful and well established leaders; in a few cases they have killed themselves to escape the stress, trauma, and guilt brought about by their genius.  Again Buddhism provides survivability by encouraging knowledge seekers to immerse themselves into their selves,  to value what is fundamentally important to them, and to exclude criticism, which is purely toxic.

The technique that works best for me in creating a sophisticated picture which can easily be understood by the public, is to write as much as I can based on my increasing information with only temporary ideas of what the final ideas may be, and then to print out all my writing and highlight the most important concepts.  I then transfer these highlights into a document similar to a table of contents, and reassemble the information in ways that are relevant to these highlighted topics.  Besides giving flow to the ideas that helps readers develop a conception, it also allows individual concepts to be spun off as smaller sub-theses.  If sub-sections stand well enough on their own, they can be supplied as articles to blogs, for instance, to help others develop their own theses, or to attract readers to your main thesis.

Important then to promote popularity is writing style, and an attractive presentation.  Relevant and exciting illustrations also help greatly in providing empathic memes and of course the Web is ideally suited for this.  Re-infusing style and structure developed to create a web presentation is also helpful in perfecting the linear flow of a scholarly document as each concept is strengthened to assure clarity in communication and also strong support for all of the concepts contributing to the main thesis.

Last but not least in promoting communication is exploiting the two-way communication values of the Internet in increasing effective ways.  While various web portals and discussion lists can easily create community, it is in communication within the community that the community is validated.  Since community cannot be created from the thin air of cyberspace, information brought to web discussions must be based in community knowledge that we have learned comes from the community of knowledge of nature-- the premise of this entire discussion.  Discussion tools need to constantly be innovated as larger and more valuable knowledge constructions are brought into the Information Society of the Internet.

In my previous writing about education, most of my information came from established sources.  Educators have been innovators long enough that highly advanced concepts have been in print for half a century.  Older concepts that should be preserved, or discarded, can be found in books published over the centuries. 

The study of empathy has become such hot discussion that the most recent debates have not had time to reach print, and when they do, they will undoubtedly be superseded by more recent debate.  New proof for the basis of empathy in biological terms, as developed through technical sophistication such as through the use fMRI technology, is creating new understandings of both psychology and biology that supersede existing concepts of the biological basis of thought in both those fields.  Science tries to define thought in terms of behavior, and then give the existence of the thought process a genetic "motive" for use and existence.  Understandings of empathy and compassion as they have been developed throughout history showing the relationships between thought, feeling, and morality are being met today with proposals for new scientific disciplines based on the recent research.  The challenge of developing future conceptions, for many scientists, is in accepting the information being supplied by the new research has been the basis of tribal Native thinking throughout the ages as reflected through the aural traditions.  Being anecdotal, this traditional information, no matter how accurate, is has been constantly dismissed by cold science.  The best way to validate this information is through conceptual linking that I practiced it in writing about the Katrina disaster, and researching the Medewiwin Society.

While much still comes from books, I believe that it comes from memories of reading rather than new reading.  In the debates surrounding empathy and life's value, much old information is being retrieved, even from scholars as ancient as the Buddha and Aristotle.  The information is being provided as tokens from within the debate, however.  The old information is being given new meaning, within newly created frameworks, such as the neurological discoveries of mirror and spindle cells.  And all this information appears on the web.

Since it is so easy now to locate information, the old citation style is burdensome.  All that is need now is text, context, an author, and optionally the work the text appears in.  The strongest ideas in my paper come from the strongest and most confident source, the biologist being proved right with the new research: Charles Darwin.  His quotes were cited by his name, a colon, his work, and the date associated with the work in parenthesis.  In my citations, I follow the date with sources.  If there is a journal, and its name is significant, I put that after a comma.  For most of the citations, I have found online sources.  For instance, citations for Goleman's books have links to pages describing those books on his official personal website.

When a topic becomes as exciting as the study of empathy is now, resources suddenly become important, and the most important is time.  Discussing existing writing at this point seems to be wasteful, since more significant writing will appear shortly. 

The wave energy being generated by the social empathy phenomena is reminiscent of the early days of the Internet. It is only beginning to develop force.  Empathic communication may become the real information revolution.